We are officially halfway through the summer season, and I am just about halfway through my summer reading list. Compiled in eager anticipation as the spring semester came to a close, and based on friends’ suggestions, Amazon.com recommendations, and what caught my eye at The Book Nook, so far (luckily) my list has been more hits than misses. I am currently muddling through The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, a book whose cover boasts that its author is a Pulitzer Prize Winner. While surely I would be proud of that too, it seems that I should have taken that as a warning that the writing style would continually and aggressively hit me over the head with just how smart the author is. I get it; you’re better than I am and you’re obviously packing a huge …vocabulary, but can we please get to the point now?
If you’re in need of a good summer read, I would like to offer the following ten suggestions. These books are not new releases for the most part (quite a few already have their own movies) but they are all engaging, interesting, and satisfying books that have found a permanent spot in my heart and on my bookshelf.
In no particular order:
1. Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. This is a smart, honest book about love as an undergrad, newlywed and not-so-newlywed. Although the story may not be especially original, the raw perspectives, relatable characters, and realistic twists set this book apart from similar stories.
2. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Everything in this book takes place in the span of a few days, and the incredible things that happen will make your family seem happy and normal. Although I felt the ending was a bit of a cop-out, it doesn’t take away (much) from how insane and entertaining the rest of the story is.
3. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I decided to read the book after seeing the movie and not understanding what the hell was going on, but wanting to. This is without a doubt one of the most original, fascinating, and heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read. I still cry every time I re-read it, even knowing how it ends, in the “good cry” way.
4.Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch. I started and finished this on a plane and it made for the best flight I’ve had yet. Crouch’s writing style keeps the story moving along quickly but still provides for a lot of rich plot detail and character development. Based upon how much I enjoyed this one, Crouch’s novel Men and Dogs is next up on my list.
5.Reproduction is the Flaw of Love by Lauren Grodstein. The title is what pulled me in on this book, and I was not disappointed. The whole story is basically told within a few hours, from the perspective of a man sitting outside the bathroom door while his girlfriend is taking a pregnancy test inside said bathroom. Reading about his life, thoughts, and fears was both funny and insightful.
6. Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis. I personally love Davis’s writing style in this quick, slice-of-life book about a young woman who, while going through the motions in life, makes some worthwhile discoveries about herself and her family. Bonus: Check out her equally wonderful Girls’ Poker Night.
7. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. This book dances in and out of the lives of a group of twenty-something women facing the life situations that twenty-something women face: a seemingly endless parade of weddings, a few too many drinks, and the realization that suddenly all of your friends are pregnant. Instead of going with the norm and making these girls out to be vapid and shallow, Close keeps her characters smart, frank, and real. I look forward to reading more from this new author.
8. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. This book is probably the closest to what they call a “beach read” on this list, but it is still a sharp, humorous, and at times emotional story about friendship, love and what happens when you have to make a choice between the two. Yes, it’s definitely “chick lit,” but it is a shining example of how good the genre can be.
9. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It’s hard for me to choose just one Hornby book for this list, but if I have to, it’s this one. A classic, witty, lovable story told through the eyes (and broken heart) of a record store owner who knows a lot more about music than he does women. Close second for my top Hornby choice would be Juliet, Naked but you really can’t go wrong with any of his books.
10. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. If you think because you saw the movie, you understand, well — you might deserve a punch to the face. Palahniuk will screw with your mind in so many fantastic, unexpected ways that that little brain of yours will be left breathless and gasping for more. This book is my favorite of his (so far) for many reasons, none of them having to do with Brad Pitt.
This list contains a small selection of some of my favorite books, and I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do. Please leave any book recommendations you have in the comments below – I am always looking for new favorites!
Shauna does not have an “e-reader” and she totally judges a book by its cover. You can find her on Twitter @shaunapinciotti.